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Tourism Branding

For anyone in or interested in the tourism industry to explore issues associated with branding a country, region, destination, attraction, hotel, tour etc

Members: 163
Latest Activity: Aug 16

State Sponsored Spin

Here is an interesting video on the subject of Nation Branding and why it does not always work, or as Simon Arnholt puts it, is often a complete waste of taxpayers' money. The story includes interviews with Jeremy Hildreth of Saffron Brand Consultants and Robert Jones of agency Wolff Olins. The argument is that mass-communication marketing campaigns are no way to build a country brand. What do you think?

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Comment by Rossitza Ohridska-Olson on January 12, 2010 at 6:18pm
For in depth comparison on Country Branding and Nation Branding of Simon Anholt (he should not be credited with the concept, please read the 100 MB of literature on the subject), see:
6 articles comparison and which is more practical tourism:
Presentation on the subject:
Comment by David Paul Appell on January 12, 2010 at 4:04pm
I agree a little bit with everyone -- it was a bold and certainly refreshing move, rather than totally ignoring the elephant in the room. But not having any training in psychology and particularly the psychology of marketing, I don't know whether using the word "risk" risks opening a can of worms. Seems to have worked well enough for them, though. Now we see others like Mexico and Brazil facing similar issues -- though not nearly to the extent that Colombia did.
Comment by Regina Binder on January 12, 2010 at 3:43pm
I agree with Paul, when I heard about the new slogan (from a Colombian archaeologist) I was taken aback, but to change perception first you have to acknowlege it.
Comment by Jose Balido on January 12, 2010 at 3:39pm
Indeed. And ultimately, everybody I met who has heard the Colombia slogan remembers it for precisely this reason... so it's working. They've created a slogan that turns popular perception on its head in a fun, provocative, and very memorable way.
Comment by Paul Barnett on January 12, 2010 at 3:32pm
Re-Columbia I think addressing the issue head on was absolutely the right approach. However, I am not sure that the ONLY risk in Columbia is wanting to leave.

I am based in Brazil. I wonder if they may just adopt a similar approach here.

In my opinion the worst thing for a a country to do is deceive, such a policy would have dangerous consequences within quite a short time.
Comment by Jose Balido on January 12, 2010 at 3:11pm
An interesting angle on destination branding: how to address destinations with serious image problems. Take the case of Colombia: despite recent advances, to this day many if not most Americans imagine a country overrun with druglords, guerillas, kidnappers, and random violence. Today some parts of Colombia are anything but, and recent personal trips to Bogotá and Cartagena de Indias have shown it to be a beautiful and promising destination indeed. How is Colombia, however, to change its image abroad?

They could have tried to sweep the bad rep under the rug and highlight the many wonders of the destination; or they could be upfront and address the problem head on, turn it on its head, and show the appeal of the destination in the process. Colombia has opted for the latter. Their slogan?

"Colombia. The only risk is not wanting to leave."

My first reaction? They're crazy. Nobody wants to see the words "risk" and "Colombia" in the same sentence. And yet... cruise ships are now docking at the port of Cartagena, and tourists are walking the streets of Bogotá. Is the slogan working? Defusing fear of risk by boldly addressing it head on, with a dash of humor?

Or... would Colombia be getting even more tourists, with a slogan that didn't highlight the "risk" factor? Impossible to know, of course, but what do you all think?
Comment by chuck lennon on January 12, 2010 at 1:17pm
Good concept to establish this thread...need to grow it.
Comment by Paul Barnett on January 12, 2010 at 12:22pm
I established this group to discuss issues arising, and thoughts provoked, as I research and write a book on the subject. This I am doing in collaboration with The Binder Group.

For the record, my background is marketing, specifically brand strategy development and implementation. I used to run a boutique angency in London with clients predominently in the luxury goods industry. Around 6years ago I moved to northeast Brazil to pursue a more meaningful life. Now I am developing a new type of travel guide publishing business, Pearl Travel Guides, with the aim of helping responsible independent travellers discover real and authentic experiences, initially in Brazil. The Binder Group has focused on developing tourist destinations and attractions around the world for over 15years, and has a bias towards cultural tourism.

Currently we are considering what has worked, and what hasn´t, in relation to the branding of countries, regions, destinations etc, and the reasons for both. This is where I will start the discussion. Please add thoughts and opinions in the Discussion Forum.



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